PBC teachers union rejects recount; Katz poised for presidency

Justin Katz

A Palm Beach County teachers union panel on Wednesday rejected a request for a recount in the union’s presidential election, securing a narrow victory for a 33-year-old teacher who ran as an outsider.

Results tallied Saturday showed that Park Vista High teacher Justin Katz narrowly edged out Pahokee Middle-Senior High teacher Gordan Longhofer by 28 votes out of 1,356 cast, a 2 percent margin of victory.

But leaders of the Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association declined Monday to certify the results of the presidential election after Longhofer called for a recount, saying that he should have a chance to make his case to an elections panel.

Wednesday night, that panel denied Longhofer’s request, and Longhofer announced that he would not pursue the matter further. Union leaders still have to officially certify the election results.

Katz, who is also a Boynton Beach city commissioner, said afterward that he was “happy with the results” and that some of controversies that emerged during that campaign had prompted him to plan a review of the union’s election rules.

“I ran for this position because I truly believed that we needed new blood and a contemporary leader, willing to take bold steps in order to achieve our long stalled union goals,” he wrote in a statement to the Palm Beach Post.

“I am more confident now than ever that the CTA and the PBC School District are in a position to turn the page on the turmoil and adversarial roles we’ve become accustomed to for what feels like forever.”

On his Facebook page, Longhofer announced that he had congratulated Katz and would not appeal the election panel’s decision.

“I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of my supporters during this CTA election,” Longhofer wrote.

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